Thursday, February 26, 2009

NPR Sunday Puzzle 2/22/09 - It's a Sin to Stray

This week's NPR Sunday Puzzle was:
Name an item often found on a desk. It's a hyphenated word. Add an S to the beginning of each part, and you'll get two synonyms. What's the item?
It took a while to get this, as I strayed from the path a couple of times: I first imagined we were dealing with some kind of printer, and spent a while trying to think of synonyms for sprinter.

Then I arrived at inkwell (OK this isn't hyphenated in most up-to-date dictionaries, but lexicographers have a way of changing whether things are hyphenated at the drop of a hat). Adding S to each part gives sink and swell, which are opposites. Shock horror! Could it be that Will meant to say antonym?

in-trayI continued thinking of words that can have an S put on the front and finally came up with what's obviously the right answer: in-tray giving sin and stray. Although in-trays are often found on a desk, they are seldom used for the in-tended purpose in my experience!

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